View Full Version : My new soprano teardrop ukulele

Vespa Bob
08-23-2017, 01:06 PM
If there's one thing I really hate, it's having to start over on something I messed up. I'll go to any length to repair, fix, hide or change, rather than start over.
Take my latest ukulele build, apart from deciding to dye it red, the rest of the instrument was to be pretty much unadorned. However, the inevitable boo-boos crept in, causing things to change.
Mistake Number 1 occurred when I sanded through the left side bottom corner at the neck joint, exposing a small part of the neck block, Oh, No! On a previous occasion, (yes, I had made this mistake before), I tried inlaying a piece of wood to take the place of the sanded through area, but I couldn't get rid of the glue line and it ended up looking just as bad as before. So, after some thought, I figured the best way to get around the problem was to add a binding to the body. With a channel routed out and some tortoise shell binding in its place, the blemish was gone! Of course, I had to bind the top as well, not fun.
Mistake number 2 crept up on me when I found that I had carved the headstock too thin for the length of the tuners, ouch! It didn't take much figuring out how to get around this boo-boo, though and soon the little uke was sporting a headstock veneer! This leads us to mistake number 3, when, after thinking that a veneer would look good with an inlay, I started working on a hummingbird cut out of a piece of MOP. Unfortunately, the wing broke in a couple of places, darn! Rather than start over, I kept the body and made a new wing out of a different piece of MOP, and when fitted into the headstock, looked pretty cool, another flub turned into a feature!
Mistake number 4. Somehow the neck, which was competed, apart from finish, fell on the floor, making a nice little triangular dent in the bottom corner of heel, Oh, no! The fix for this also didn't take much thought, although it took me longer than I had expected. The uke now had a neat ebony heel graft
I could have presented this latest effort of mine without mentioning the preceding paragraphs, but since this is a forum for not only aspiring amateur luthiers, but also sympathetic, (I hope) experts who have been around the block a few times, I'm content to reveal that even if it takes some effort, some mistakes can turn into features, just keep them to yourself and no one will know!


08-23-2017, 01:40 PM
You do lovely work Bob,and that teardrop has to be one of the nicest ukulele shapes ever. Well done.

Maiden Uke
08-23-2017, 01:58 PM
Love the unique teardrops you make, Bob. Can't see the boo boos on this one!

08-23-2017, 03:45 PM
Bob, this uke looks beautiful and I bet it sounds beautiful. Congratulations to you on another fine instrument! Linda

08-23-2017, 04:56 PM
A real beauty!!

08-23-2017, 06:26 PM
That ukulele is gorgeous!

08-23-2017, 07:23 PM
Looks great. I appreciate your honesty about the mistakes (though I recognize most of them).

08-23-2017, 07:56 PM
Wow that's really beautiful! Love the color

08-24-2017, 12:23 AM
I'm not a fan of coloured ukes, but this is fabulous.

Vespa Bob
08-24-2017, 05:05 AM
Thanks very much to all for your replies. My instruments are far from perfect, and that's OK, but I do put my heart and soul into each one I build.


08-24-2017, 07:13 AM
If you can't fix it, feature it! It's easily my favorite saying. Your instrument looks gorgeous! I really like the color and the shape. Nice work!

08-24-2017, 09:03 AM
So, what a journey to do a uke !
And yours sound not to be a calm river ...
But, pics show a real nice curved shaped uke.
Yep, good job ...

Vespa Bob
08-24-2017, 06:05 PM
Thanks, finkdaddy, it has become my favourite, too!
Gerard, thanks for your comments, yes, more like a big storm than a calm river, but success in the end, yes?


08-24-2017, 07:07 PM
Don't worry Bob. The next one is going to be perfect. Trust me.... By the way I love the red color. Turned out very well. I never would have had the guts to try it.

Ken Franklin
08-24-2017, 11:44 PM
I love everything about Bob.

Vespa Bob
08-25-2017, 04:51 AM
Thanks, sequoia, but I don't know about perfect, mine are and probably always be more like folk art!
Ken, you're kidding, right? :o


Ken Franklin
08-27-2017, 09:38 PM
Thanks, sequoia, but I don't know about perfect, mine are and probably always be more like folk art!
Ken, you're kidding, right? :o

Well face it Bob, who goes out and tells everyone all of the mistakes and then shows us such a beautiful instrument in every way?

Pete Howlett
09-08-2017, 04:56 AM
Inspired by this post I am part way developing the jigs and tools for production of one of these fully utilising the power of my CNC machine. No photos yet but some video and discussion on my Facebook group showing a perfectly elliptical rosette channel and soundhole.